Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book, but I'm not sure I have clear direction on how to review it. The book is one of those classics that again is frequently assigned reading to students, but I never had it assigned to be read. I know I thought about picking it up several times and almost bought a copy when in high school. A lot of my curiosity came from it sparking a catch-phrase, which is used throughout the book and is hilarious almost every time it comes up. For those unfamiliar with it the phrase has a very similar meaning to "damned if you do, damned if you don't".
The book doesn't go in chronological order but instead sets the scene which is very odd, but humorous at the beginning. As the book continues most of the oddities are explained, but often times new oddities are brought up. The book does an amazing job of keeping you laughing at the humor of the situation and the complexities of politics, economics, and logistics of war. At the same time, it also quickly shifted gears between making you laugh and confronting you with the stark horrors of war. And even though the book showed how horrific war can be it did so without ever becoming gruesome. War is humorous and detestable but never grotesque.
I couldn't stop laughing throughout the book and have recommended it to family and friends already. It is not a book I would assign to high school students if I was a teacher [except maybe as an independent read for very mature students] because of the references to sex and the amount of language. Only other downside is its length, but well worth the time. It was a very enjoyable book that certainly belongs on lifetime reading lists.
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